Are Woman deficient in intelligence and religion in the eyes of Islam | Answer is: No!
Mohamad Mostafa Nassar
3- The hadith is not meant literally
In regards to Sahih Bukari Hadith Vol. 3:826 and Vol. 2:541 Non-Muslims hastily claims that woman are considered deficient in intelligence and religion.
The following Hadiths are
Mohammed asked some women, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half that of a man?” The women said, “yes,” He said, “This is because of the deficiency of the woman’s mind. ” Vol. 3:826
Mohammed to women: “I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you.” Vol. 2:541
Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri: The Prophet said, “Isn’t the witness of a woman equal to half of that of a man?” The women said, “Yes.” He said, “This is because of the defficientcy of a woman’s mind” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Volume 3, Book 48, Number 826)
Islam gives equal rights to man and woman. In this regard Quran states
“And for women are rights over men similar to those of men over women.” (Quran 2:226)
“If any do deeds of righteousness,- be they male or female – and have faith, they will enter Heaven, and not the least injustice will be done to them.” (Quran 4:124)
The hadith doesn’t meant literally here. What is the meaning of women deficient n intelligence and religion. When Islam discusses the deficiencies of women, it is neither insulting them nor belittling them. Some men, unfortunately, do precisely that when they quote the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him) that women “have a deficiency in their intellect and their religion”. They take these words out of context as a means of oppressing women and putting them down.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) meant something quite different. He said: “I have never seen among those who have a deficiency in their intellect and their religion anyone more capable than women of swaying the intellect of the most determined of men.” He is actually asserting here the power of women to influence men and sway their opinion. This is one of the distinctions that women, in their natures, have.
“The Prophet, peace be and blessings upon him, explained that women’s mental deficiency is reflected in their weak memory (A woman is overloaded by being a mother or a babysitter or pregnant. All these carriers are around the clock, because of what she is, she is always likely to forget more than a man who is devoted to one career only) , the fact that makes Shari`ah stipulate that a woman’s testimony must be corroborated by another woman. Thus, this injunction does not imply woman’s inferiority to man; rather it has more to do with justice than to gender.
As for the shortcoming in religion, this stems from the fact that when menstruating or having post- partum bleeding, women neither pray nor fast, and they do not have to make up for their prayers.
As we know, women have no hand in the obstacles that disrupt their religious performances. This is something divine, which reflects Almighty Allah’s overflowing mercy on them, for it will be extremely hard for a woman to be tasked with religious obligation while she is having menstruation or post-partum bleeding. That’s why she is exempted from fasting or praying, as a sign of mercy on her.
Also, they do not make up their prayers. This is because if they were ordered to make up their prayers, it would be extremely hard for them, given that prayers are performed five times a day. Menses may last for a number of days, up to seven or eight or more. Post-partum bleeding lasts for forty days. It’d be definitely hard for women to be obliged to make up the prayers missed while responding to the demands of nature.
So, in the light of the above-mentioned facts, the Hadith does not have any indication of looking down upon women or considering them as inferior, especially when we know that some women excel men in many matters.
Yes, no one can deny the fact that a woman may perform many good deeds and exceed many men in virtue, morality, etc. Islamic history abounds with examples of great women who have made great contribution to the progress of mankind. This is very clear to anyone who is well informed about the status of women during the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and the early generations.
In addition, the Hadith in question does not disqualify women from being narrators of Hadiths, and there is nothing that prevents a woman from being one of Allah’s pious servants, if she is steadfast in her religion even with her being excused from fasting or praying during menstruation or post-partum bleeding”
What is meant by two halves of men?
The Prophet PBUH is also reported to as said:
“Assuredly, women are the twin halves of men.”(Sahih reported by Abu-Dawud (RA)
The Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) said, He said, “Yes, forwomen are the twin halves of men.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi, 113; Ahmad, 25663. Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Tirmidhi)
Again this Hadith doesn’t not meant literally but as an acknowledgment of the power women wield over men while ostensibly less active in the public and spiritual spheres.
3- The hadith is not meant literally
The hadith here doesn’t mean literally. There are often ither hadith similar to like this which needs explanation. For example
“Bukhari: Book 4: Volume 54: Hadith 509
“Narrated Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, “Yawning is from Satan and if anyone of you yawns, he should check his yawning as much as possible, for if anyone of you (during the act of yawning) should say: ‘Ha’, Satan will laugh at him.”
Hadith particularly like this needs an explanation as similar to some of the Biblical verses for example
Proverbs 22:14 “The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; he who is under the LORD’s wrath will fall into it.”
So If I am under Christian god’s wrath I will fall into a adulteress mouth?